Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The one book you need to read about the eurozone

by Daniel W. Drezner

Washington Post

April 8, 2015

There are some issues that the hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts thinks are vitally important and easy and fun to write about and some issues that are vitally important and difficult and challenging to write about.

This is a problem. Writing about the Iran nuclear talks are like the foreign policy equivalent of crack — quick hit, quick high, when can I write about it again!! [Full disclosure: I have no idea what doing crack is actually like.] But in many ways, the ongoing sclerosis of the eurozone economies matters a hell of a lot more to world politics. Opining about it is just so damn difficult, however. Internecine eurozone politics are really confusing and the economics are genuinely baffling. This is true despite the use of cool villain-y terms like “troika” and after Greece elected a truly out-there leftist party in response to the disaster that is austerity.

Which is why I will outsource this issue and heartily recommend Mark Blyth’s and Matthias Matthijs’ The Future of the Euro, which is a mini-miracle of a book in so many ways. If you were going to devise a formula for producing a book that would be overtaken by events before it was published, you’d use the following criteria:
  • Make it a book by academics and published by an academic press;
  • Make it an edited volume, because those take longer and tend to fluctuate wildly in quality from chapter to chapter;
  • Make it about an ongoing policy issue.
The Future of the Euro meets all these criteria, and yet the miracle is that the book is still wildly informative and relevant. This is especially for folks who are coming at the eurozone issue without a great deal of EuroKnowledge (TM).


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